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Investment for education in emergencies

Research reports

Written by Susan Nicolai, Sebastien Hine

​This report carries out a rigorous literature review around four key areas:

  • Is education seen as a ‘high priority’ amongst emergency affected populations?

  • To what extent is schooling disrupted by different types of emergencies? And how are different groups affected?

  • What are the economic and human costs of emergencies on education? And what are returns to investment in education in emergencies?

  • What is the nature of funding for education in emergencies?


The report finds that:

  • Communities, children especially, prioritise education over other needs in emergency contexts;

  • Longer term costs of emergencies to education include estimates that reach hundreds of millions – and even billions – of dollars;

  • Humanitarian aid to education in emergencies is very low, with limited understanding of how this can catalyse other sources of funding.


Case studies on how these issues play out in Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo complement the review. The report also indicates what future research is needed.

Susan Nicolai and Sebastien Hine